Beginning in 1995, the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), in conjunction with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has celebrated National Health Education Week during the third week in October. It was created to increase general awareness of public health issues and introduce and improve understanding of the purpose and role of health education in communities across the nation. According to SOPHE, quality health education can improve the quality of life for people living in a given community while reducing healthcare costs, especially in the case of preventive health education.
Health education can come in multiple forms. Many health education specialists and organizations offer community programs and classes for everything from smoking and tobacco cessation and substance abuse programs to healthy nutrition and exercise education, according to Michigan’s District Health Department #10. Programs offering preventive information or chronic condition management education could reduce healthcare spending by as much as $16 billion annually with an investment of just $10 per person per year, according to a Trust for Americas Health report in February 2009. Health education specialists can help lower medical spending and narrow the gaps between communities by providing the public with affordable or free-of-cost education opportunities.
One way to improve public health education is to start early. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that educating adolescent students in school curricula can set them up for more positive health outcomes as adults. School-based health education has been shown to improve grades and translate to positive overall wellness and health outcomes as adults. The CDC suggests including sexual health education, substance abuse, and violence prevention in health education curricula. By providing information about public health risks and issues early, we can improve overall well-being nationwide and provide more opportunities for success.
Bridging the gaps between communities and improving health disparities is one of our core missions at Molecular Testing Labs. We are committed to providing affordable and accessible diagnostic testing and education options by working with state and local health departments and health delivery systems nationwide. We want to improve health equity and social determinants of health by providing opportunities for people in all communities to access necessary healthcare and preventive measures.
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- Society for Public Health Education. (2023). About National Health Education Week. org. https://www.sophe.org/focus-areas/national-health-education-week/national-health-education-week/
- District Health Department #10. (2022). National Health Education Week (10/16/2023-10/20/2023). DHD10.org. https://www.dhd10.org/national-health-education-week-10-16-2023-10-20-2023/
- Jeffrey, L., Segal, L., and Chrissie, J. (2009, February). Prevention for a healthier America: investments in disease prevention yield significant savings, stronger communities. http://resource.nlm.nih.gov/101511510
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, March 30). Health Education.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health-education/index.htm#:~:text=School%2Dbased%20health%20education%20helps,healthy%20behaviors%20throughout%20their%20lives.